About Marilène Phipps

Best Selling Author

My Professional Story

I am a member of the Academy of the American Poets and a recipient of the NAACP Award of Excellence for outstanding commitment in advancing the culture and causes for communities of color.

As a Painter, I held fellowships at the Guggenheim Foundation, at Harvard University’s Bunting Institute, W.E.B. DuBois Institute, and the Center for the Study of World Religions. My paintings are exhibited in museum and gallery settings in the U.S. and abroad.

As a Writer, my collection, The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award in 2010, published by the University of Iowa Press. My 2018 memoir, Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-day Saints was a finalist for the INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2020. My novel, House of Fossils, was a finalist in 2020 for the NIEA—National Indie Excellence Award. My fiction was
also selected for several anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories 2003, and Haiti Noir: The Classics.

As a Poet, I won the Grolier prize for poetry and the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize for the collection, Crossroads and Unholy Water (also a finalist for the Walt Whitman prize from the Academy of American Poets), and subsequently published by SI University Press. My poetry was published in England by Carcanet Press Ltd., and can also be read in numerous American anthologies such as The Beacon Best of 1999, as well as literary magazines such as the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Callaloo, Ploughshares and River Styx. I am also the editor of the Jack Kerouac Collected Poems for the Library of America.


House of Fossils Book Cover

House of Fossils

Following her amazing memoir Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-Day Saints, Marilène Phipps offers us House of Fossils, an autobiographical novel in the Joycean tradition, with the same high-octane emotionality and vivid characterization that makes all her work so riveting. 

Unseen Worlds: Adventures at the Crossroads of Vodou Spirits and Latter-day Saints

The extraordinary life of Marilène Phipps began in Haiti — the magical island of African Vodou gods who followed their devotees on the slave ships, and the world’s first black republic — the singular cultural context and exotic milieu of the Caribbean, where hell and paradise can transfix us daily.

Crossroads and Unholy Water

Marilene Phipps’s poetry invites the reader to share sharp slices of Caribbean experience: Haiti is both stage and backdrop for people who move in various strata of the social scheme and through the three stages of life, in lieu of answers to the Sphinx’s riddle.

The Company of Heaven

Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell’s award-winning stories transport you to Haiti—to a lush, lyrical, flamboyant, and spirit-filled Haiti where palm trees shine wet with moonlight and the sky paints a yellow screen over your head and the ocean sparkles with thousands of golden eyes—and keep you there forever.

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